Accelerators are now an integral part of the startup ecosystem. And especially for first-time founders, it is becoming a checkbox item: go through an accelerator. In the general sense, startup accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a demo day. And once you decide to join an accelerator, the decision of which accelerator to join is nearly impossible with dozens of new accelerators opening all the time. Let’s start with understanding the difference between accelerator and incubator.
What is a Startup Accelerator? It means physically locating your business in one co-working space with other startups. Your time in the space is typically limited to a 3-4 month period, basically intended to jump-start your business and then kick you out of the nest. The cash investment into your business from the accelerator itself is very minimal (usually, $20,000), but your time in the accelerator is supposed to largely improve your chances of raising venture capital from a third party after you graduate from the program. Mentorship could be coming from 100 entrepreneurs that are affiliated with the accelerator. Many of the mentors are proven CEOs, or investors looking for their next opportunity or simply helping the local startup community. Examples include Tech Stars and Y Combinator. Keep reading this post